Summer Wildflowers, Plants and Herbs in the Little Finger Lakes

Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas

Mid-July is upon us,  and the Little Finger Lakes area is filled with summer wildflowers that dot the sides of roads, trails, fill the unmowed fields, and isolated sunny areas in the forest.  I plan to take a walk tomorrow and photograph these colorful flowers blooming this time of year. Keep on eye on our photo gallery for new photos of summer wildflowers which will be added throughout the summer season.

Wild Bergamot

Wild Bergamot

Identifying wildflowers and herbs is somewhat of a hobby of mine and I consider myself an amateur.  I starting my hobby over 20 years ago when we moved to Bald Hill in Hemlock.  Before building my home, I took a trip to Sturbridge, Mass and was lucky to meet the museum herbalist while touring the historical gardens.  She recommended a Readers Digest book called Magic and Medicine of Plants, and I purchased some historical medicinal plants such as hyssops, pot marigold, and horehound, and planted them in my garden. From there I began to purchase other herbs and made over 30 different kinds of herbal vinegars, then became interested in the wildflowers and plants that surrounded me between Hemlock and Canadice Lakes.  Today I am mostly interested in native plants and with the help of Amanda Gardens I planted my first native perennial garden this July.    Thanks to 3 friends, Paula Jones, Amy Hapeman and Ellen Folts,  I have increased my knowledge of herbs, wildflowers, woodland plants, and recently native plants around the little finger lakes.

 

Day Lilies

Day Lilies

Many of you have noticed common bright

Chicory roots can be used as a coffee substitute

Chicory roots can be used as a coffee substitute

orange lilies along the roadside called day lilies as well as pretty sky-blue flowers named chicory. Combined with the other colors of oxeye daisies, sweet peas, and Queen

Queen Anne's Lace has purplish-black dot in middle

Queen Anne’s Lace has purplish-black dot in middle

Anne’s lace, these flowers make beautiful flower arrangements. Although these are not native plants,  I prefer to leave them in place for others to enjoy and photograph. As I am not a wildcrafter, I never  dig any plant up by the roots as this would destroy the plant.  Note that queen anne’ lace should not be confused with poisonous water hemlock which has a similar look.

St. John's Wort

St. John’s Wort

Other wildflowers and plants that seem to dot the meadows and roadsides are St.John’s wort, yarrow, dock, boneset, field horsetail, wild bergamot, and garden heliotrope. I remember finding some bouncing bet once along Canadice Lake Road.   The early yellow flowers of coltsfoot have disappeared and the leaves have become very large.  Mayapple leaves have withered and their fruit, if you can find them, could be ripe for eating.   Rose flowers of that invasive pricky shrub, multi-flora rose, have bloomed and emmit a sweet fragrance. My favorite very tall biennial plant, mullein,which can be 8 feet high, has bloomed with lots of yellow flowers this year.  Continued…..planting a native garden and more on summer woodland wildflowers.

mullein can stand 8 ft high

mullein can stand 8 ft high

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